Page images
PDF
EPUB

he wrote against his brethren, Archelaus and Philip, which were the king's sons, and educated at Rome, being yet youths, but of generous dispositions. An. tipater set himself to get rid of these as soon as he could, that they might not be prejuaicial to his hopes, and to that end he forged letters against them in the name of his friends at Rome. Some of these he corrupted by bribes to write how they grossly reproached their father, and did openly bewail Alexander and Aristobulus, and were uneasy at their being recalled; for their father had already sent for them, which was the very thing that troubled Antipater.

2. Nay, indeed, while Antipater was in Judea, and before he was upon his journey to Rome, he gave money to have the like letters sent against them from Rome, and then came to his father, who as yet had no suspicion of him, and apologized for his brethren, and alleged on their behalf, that some of the things contained in those letters were false, and others of them were only youthful errors. Yet at the same time that he expended a great deal of his money by making presents to such as wrote against his brethren, did he aim to bring his accounts into confusion, by buying costly garments and carpets of various contextures, with silver and gold cups, and a great many more curious things, that so among the very great expenses laid out upon such furniture, he might con. ceal the money he had used in hiring men [to write the letters ;] for he brought in an account of his expenses, amounting to two hundred talents, his main pre. tence for which was the lawsuit he had been in with Syileus. So while all his rogueries, even those of a lesser sort also, were covered by his greater villany, while all the examinations by torture proclaimed his attempt to murder his father, and the letters proclaimed his second attempt to murder his brethren; yet did no one of those that came to Rome inform him of his misfortunes in Judea, although seven months had intervened between his conviction and his return, so great was the hatred which they all bore to him. And, perhaps, they were the ghosts of those brethren of his that had been murdered, that stopped the mouths of those that intended to have told him. He then wrote from Rome, and informed [his friends) that he would soon come to them, and how he was dismissed with honour by Cæsar.

3. Now the king being desirous to get this plotter against him into his hands, and being also afraid lest he should some way come to the knowledge how his affairs stood, and be upon his guard, he dissembled his anger in his epistle to him, as in other points he wrote kindly to him, and desired him to make haste, because, if he came quickly, he would then lay aside the complaints he had against his mother; for Antipater was not ignorant that his mother had been ex. pelled out of the palace. However, he had before received a letter, which con. tained an account of the death of Pheroras at Tarentum,* and made great la. mentations at it, for which some commended him, as being for his own uncle · though probably this confusion arose on account of his having thereby failed in his plot (on his father's life,] and his tears were more for the loss of him that was to have been subservient therein, than for (an uncle] Pheroras : moreover a sort of fear came upon him as to his designs, lest the poison should have been discovered. However, when he was in Cilicia, he received the forementioned epistle from his father, and made great haste accordingly. But when he had sailed to Celendris, a suspicion came into his mind relating to his mother's misfortunes, as if his soul foreboded some mischief to itself. Those, therefore, of bis friends which were the most considerate, advised him not rashly to go to his father, till he had learned what were the occasions why his mother had been ejected, because they were afraid that he might be involved in the calumnies that had been cast upon his mother : but those that were less considerate, and had more regard to their own desires of seeing their native country than to An. tipater's safety, persuaded him to make haste home, and not, by delaying his journey, afford his father ground for an ill suspicion, and give a handle to those

* This Tarentum has coins still extant, as Reland informs us here in his note.

that raised stories against him ; for that in case any thing had been moved to his disadvantage, it was owing to his absence, which durst not have been done had he been present. And they said it was absurd to deprive himself of certain hap. piness for the sake of an uncertain suspicion, and not rather to return to his father, and take the royal authority upon him, which was in a state of Auctuation on his account only. Antipater complied with this last advice, for Providence hurried him on [to his destruction.] So he passed over the sea, and landed at Sebastus, the haven of Cæsarea.

4. And here he found a perfect and unexpected solitude, while every body avoided him, and nobody durst come at him; for he was equally hated by all men; and now that hatred had liberty to show itself, and the dread men were in of the king's anger made men keep from him ; for the whole city [of Jerusalem] was filled with lhe rumours about Antipater, and Antipater himself was the only person who was ignorant of them; for as no man was dismissed more magnifi

. cently when he began his voyage to Rome, so was no man now received back with greater ignominy. And, indeed, he began already to suspect what misfor. tunes there were in Herod’s family; yet did he cunningly conceal his suspicion ; and while he was inwardly ready to die for fear, he put on a forced boldness of countenance. Nor could he now fly any whither, nor had he any way of emerg. ing out of the difficulties which encompassed him; nor, indeed, had he even there any certain intelligence of the affairs of the royal family, by reason of the threats the king had given out: yet had he some small hopes of better tidings; for, perhaps, nothing had been discovered; or, if any discovery had been made, perhaps he should be able to clear himself by impudence and artful tricks, which were the only things he relied upon for his deliverance.

5. And with these hopes did he screen himself, till he came to the palace, without

any friends with him; for these were affronted, and shut out at the first gate. Now Varus, the president of Syria, happened to be in the palace at this juncture ] so Antipater went in to his father, and, putting on a bold face, he came near to salute him; but Herod stretched out his hands, and turned his head away from him, and cried out,—“Even this is an indication of a parricide, to be de. sirous to get me into his arms, when he is under such heinous accusations. God confound thee, thou vile wretch, do not thou touch me, till thou hast cleared thy. self of these crimes that are charged upon thee. I appoint thee a count where thou art to be judged, and this Varus, who is very seasonably here, to be thy judge ; and get thou thy defence ready against to-morrow; for I give thee så much time to prepare subtile excuses for thyself.” And as Antipater was so con. founded that he was able to make no answer to this charge, he went away; bu his mother and wife came to him, and told him of all the evidence he had gottet against him. Hereupon he recollected himself and considered what defence ho should make against the accusations.

CHAP. XXXII.

Antipater is accused before Varus, and is convicted of laying a Plot (against hu Father) by the strongest Evidence. Herod puts off his Punishment till he should

be recovered, and in the mean time alters his Testament § 1. Now the day following the king assembled a court of his kinsmen and friends, and called in Antipater's friends also : Herod himself with Varus were the presidents; and Herod called for all the witnesses, and ordered them to be brought in ; among whoin some of the domestic servants. of Antipater's mother were brought in also, who had but a little while before been caught, as they were carrying the following letter from her to her son.—“Since all those things have

been already discovered by thy father, do not thou come to him unless thou canst procure some assistance from Cæsar.” When this and the other witnesses were introduced, Antipater came in, and falling on his face before his father's feet, he said, “Father, I beseech thee do not condemn me beforehand, but let thy ears be unbiased, and attend to my defence; for if thou wilt give me leave, I will de. monstrate that I am innocent.”

2. Hereupon Herod cried out to him to hold his peace, and spake thus to l'arus :-“ I cannot but think that thou, Varus, and every other upright judge, will determine that Antipater is a vile wretch. I am also afraid that thou wilt abhor my ill fortune, and judge me also myself worthy of all sorts of calamity, for begetting such children; while yet I ought rather to be pitied, who have been so affectionate a father to such wretched sons; for when I had settled the kingdom on my former sons, even when they were young, and when, besides the charges of their education at Rome, I had made them the friends of Cæsar, and made them envied by other kings, I found them plotting against me ; these have been put to death, and that, in great measure, for the sake of Antipater; for as ho was then young, and appointed to be my successor, I took care chiefly to se. cure him from danger : but this profligate wild beast, when he had been over and above satiated with that patience which I showed him, he made use of that abundance I had given him against myself; for I seemed to him to live too long, and he was very uneasy at the old age I was arrived at ; nor could he stay any onger, but would be a king by parricide. And justly am I served by him for oringing him back out of the country to court, when he was of no esteem before, and for thrusting out those sons of mine that were born of the queen, and for making him a successor to my dominions. I confess to thee, O Varus, the great folly I was guilty of; for I provoked those sons of mine to act against me, and cut off their

just expectations for the sake of Antipater; and, indeed, what kind. ness did I do to them that could equal what I have done to Antipater ; to whom I hare, in a manner, yielded up my royal authority while I am alive, and whom I have openly named for the successor to my dominions in my testament, and given him a yearly revenue of his own of fifty talents, and supplied him with money to an extravagant degree out of my own revenue; and when he was lately about to sail to Rome, I gave him three hundred talents, and recommended him, and him alone of all my children, to Cæsar, as his father's deliverer. Now what crimes were those other sons of mine guilty of like these of Antipater ? and what evidience was there brought against them so strong as there is to demonstrate this son to have plotted against me? Yet does this parricide presume to speak for himself, and hopes to obscure the truth by his cunning tricks. Thou, O Varus, must guard thyself against him; for I know the wild beast, and I foresee how plausibly he will talk, and his counterfeit lamentation. This was he who exhorted me to have a care of Alexander, when he was alive, and not intrust my body with ail men! This was he who carne to my very bed, and looked about lest any one should lay snares for me! This was he who took care of my sleep, and secured me from any fear of danger, who comforted me under the trouble I was in upon the slaughter of my sons, and looked to see what affection my surviving brethren bore me! This was my protector, and the guardian of my body! And when I call to mind, O Varus, his craftiness upon every occasion, and his art of dissem. bling, I can hardly believe that I am still alive, and I wonder how I have escaped such a deep plotter of mischief. However, since some fate or other makes my house desolate, and perpetually raises up those that are dearest to nie against me, I will, with tears, lament my hard fortune, and privately groan under my lonesome condition ; yet am I resolved that no one who thirsts after my blood shall escape punishment, although the evidence should extend itself to all my BODS."

3. Upon Herod's saying this, he was interrupted by the confusion he was in; bus ordered Nicolaus, one of his friends, to produce the evidence against Antipater. But in the mean time Antipater lifted up his head (for he lay on the ground before his father's feet,) and cried out aloud,—“Thou, O father, hast made my apology for me; for how can I be a parricide, whom thou thyself confessest to have always had for thy guardian ? Thou callest my filial affection prodigious lies and hypocrisy; how, then, could it be that I, who was so subtile in other matters, should here be so mad as not to understand that it was not easy that he who committed so horrid a crime could be concealed from men, but ini. possible that he should be concealed from the Judge of heaven, who sees all things, and is present everywhere? or did not I know what end my brethren came to, on whom God inflicted so great a punishment for their evil designs against thee? And, indeed, what was there that could possibly provoke me against thee? Could the hope of being a king do it? I was a king already. Could I suspect hatred from thee? No. Was not I beloved by thee? And what other fear could I have ? Nay, by preserving thee safe, I was a terror to others. Did I want money ? No; for who was able to expend so much as myself? In. deed, father, had I been the most execrable of all mankind, and had I had the soul of the most cruel wild beast, must I not have been overcome with the be. nefits thou hadst bestowed upon me? whom, as thou thyself sayest, thou broughtest [into the palace;] whom thou didst prefer before so many of thy sons; whom thou madest a king in thine own lifetime ; and by the vast magnitude of the other udvantages thou bestowedst on me, thou madest me an object of envy. O miserable man ! that thou shouldst undergo this bitter absence, and thereby af. ford a great opportunity for envy to arise against thee, and a long space for such as were laying designs against thee! Yet was I absent, father, on thy affairs, that Sylleus might not treat thee with contempt in thine old age. Rome is a witness to my filial affection, and so is Cæsar, the ruler of the habitable earth, who oftentimes called me Philopater.* Take here the letters he hath sent thee; they are more to be believed than the calumnies raised here : these letters are my only apology; these use as the demonstration of that natural affection I have to thee. Remember that it was against my own choice that I sailed to Rome,] as knowing the latent hatred that was in the kingdom against me. It was thou, O father, however unwillingly, who hast been my ruin, by forcing me to allow time for calumnies against me, and envy at me. However, I am come hither, and am ready to hear the evidence there is against me

If I be a par. ricide, I have passed by land and by sea without suffering any misfortune on either of them : hut this method of trial is no advantage to me; for it seems, O father, that I am already condemned both before God and before thee ; and as I am already condemned, I beg that thou wilt not believe the others that have been tortured, but let the fire be brought to torment me ; let the racks march through my bowels ; have no regard to any lamentations that this polluted body can make ; for if I be a parricide, I ought not to die without torture." Thus did Antipater cry out with lamentation and weeping, and moved all the rest, and Varus in particular, to commiserate his case. Herod was the only person whose passion was too strong to permit him to weep, as knowing that the testimonies against him were true.

4. And now it was that, at the king's command, Nicolaus, when he had pre. mised a great deal about the craftiness of Antipater, and had prevented the effects of their commiseration to him, afterwards brought in a bitter and large accusation against him, ascribing all the wickedness that had been in the kingdom to him, and especially the murder of his brethren, and demonstrated that they had pe. rished by the calumnies he had raised against them. He also said, that he had laid designs against them that were still alive, as if they were laying plots for the succession; and (said he] how can it be supposed that he who prepared poison for his father should abstain from mischief as to his brethren ? He then proceeded i coprict him of the attempt to poison Herod, and gave an account in order of

# A lover of his father.

the several discoveries that had been made, and had great indignation as to the affair of Pheroras, because Antipater had been for making him murder his brother, and had corrupted thuse that were dearest to the king, and filled the whole palace with wickedness; and when he had insisted on many other accusations, and the proofs for them, he left off.

5. Then Varus bid Antipater make his defence; but he lay long in silence, and said no more but this, -"God is my witness that I am entirely innocent." So Varus asked for the potion, and give it to be drunk by a condemned malefactor who was then in prison, who died upon the spot. So Varus, when he had had a sery private discourse with Herod, and had written an account of this assembly to Cæsar, went away, after a day's stay. The king also bound Antipater, and sent away to inform Cæsar of his misfortunes.

6. Now after this it was discovered that Antipater had laid a plot against Sa. lome also ; for one of Antiphilus's domestic servants came and brought letters from Rome, from a maid servant of Julia (Cæsar's wife,] whose name was Acme, By her a message was sent to the king, that she had found a letter written by Salome among Julia's papers, and had sent it to him privately, out of her good will to him. This ietter of Salome contained the most bitter reproaches of the king, and the highest accusations against him. Antipater had forged this letter, and had corrupted Acme, and persuaded her to send it to Herod. This was proved by her letter to Antipater, for thus did this woman write to him.-"As thou desirest, I have written a letter to thy father, and have sent that letter, and am persuaded that the king will not spare his sister when he reads it. Thou wilt do well to remember what thou hast promised when all is accomplished.”

7. When this epistle was discovered, and what the epistle forged against Sa. lome contained, a suspicion came into the king's mind, that, perhaps, the letters against Alexander were also forged: he was, moreover, greatly disturbed, and in a passion, because he had almost slain his sister on Antipater's account. He did no longer delay, therefore, to bring him to punishment for all his crimes : yet when he was eagerly pursuing Antipater, he was restrained by a severe distemper he fell into. However, he sent an account to Cæsar about Acme, and the con. trivances against Salome: he sent also for his testament and altered it, and therein made Antipas king, as taking no care of Archelaus and Philip, because Antipater had blasted their reputations with him ; but he bequeathed to Cæsar, besides other presents that he gave him, a thousand talents ; as also to his wife and children, and friends, aud freedmen, about five hundred : he also bequeathed to all others a great quantity of land and of money, and showed his respects to Salome, his sister, by giving her most splendid gifts. And this was what was contained in his testament, as it was now altered.

CHAP. XXXIIL The golden Eagle is cut to Pieces. Herod's Barbarity wher he was ready to die. He attempts to kill himself. He commands Antipater to be slain.

He survives him five Days, and then dies. $ 1. Now Herod's distemper became more and more severe to him, and this because these his disorders fell upon him in his old age, and when he was in a melancholy condition; for he was already almost seventy years of age, and had been brought low by the calamities that happened to him about his children, whereby be had do pleasure in life, even when he was in health ; the grief also that Antipater was still alive aggravated his disease, whom he resolved to put so death now, not at random, but as soon as he should be well again, and resolved to have hina slain (in a public manner.]

2. There also now happened to him, among his other calamities, a certain HOL AL

« PreviousContinue »